Do we need a new Mastery?

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I ask this question because quite frankly I find Harmony to be one of the most boring healer Masteries available now. It requires absolutely no upkeep with its longer duration. It’s just bonus healing and that bonus healing isn’t even interesting to watch or manage.

Back in Cataclysm, Harmony had a good level of involvement from the Druid. We had to maintain the buff by casting a direct heal every 10 seconds. Some could argue that Harmony required “too much” attention, but I liked it because it kept me involved. I knew that by carefully watching and maintaining the buff I would be rewarded with big heals. It was a good relationship.

But now ever since the tail-end of MoP Beta where they changed the duration of Harmony to 20 seconds, maintaining the buff has become extremely trivial and it doesn’t feel nearly as rewarding as it used to. Maintaining Harmony was what separated a good Druid from a mediocre one and now that distinction is gone. A Druid can infinitely keep Harmony up just by casting Swiftmend on cooldown. You don’t even need a buff tracker for it anymore. The maintenance is gone and quite frankly the bonus healing feels like it should just be passive now.

So how do we fix this? Well, I think Harmony needs to be scrapped for something more involving or something that interacts more with the spells we cast. Part of the reason why Harmony’s duration was extended to begin with was because Druids were having trouble keeping up the duration due to being GCD-capped. At that time it was the right move, but at the same time it took away what made Harmony interesting and enjoyable.

I think we need a new Mastery, one that is passive and doesn’t require any maintenance. One that interacts with our healing differently rather than “increases all healing done”. Look at other healer Masteries:

Shield Discipline- It’s not the Mastery that is interesting, but rather Divine Aegis and how it interacts with all the Priest spells.

Echo of Light- EoL is probably the one Mastery that is closest to Harmony except it’s in the form of a HoT rather than upfront healing.

Illuminated Healing- This Mastery makes all healing spells (even HoTs) put a shield on the target. The shield stacks and is capped by a % of the players health.

Deep Healing- Deep Healing’s power depends on the targets health level. Lower health targets will benefit more than higher health ones. This is actually my favorite Mastery in-game right now since it’s reactive depending on player conditions.

Gift of the Serpent- This Mastery seems to be the “Lightwell” of all of them since it requires players to be proactive with using the Healing Spheres. I do know this Mastery is getting tweaked in 5.2 so the Healing Spheres aren’t wasted as much as they are now.

In comparison, Harmony doesn’t seem nearly as interesting as other Masteries. Shield Discipline isn’t very interesting either, but the way Divine Aegis works makes up for it a bit.

So what do I suggest?

I think our Mastery should take a page out of the Discipline Priest book. I’m not saying we should get absorbs, far from it actually. I think our Mastery should increase the healing of a certain passive ability that we actually already have, it’s just really mediocre in its current iteration:

Living Seed

Living Seed use to be an awful passive in Cataclysm. Its proc was extremely inconsistent meaning it would sometimes proc off of damage and sometimes it wouldn’t because for whatever reason it didn’t meet the criteria of being “attacked”.

MoP made it a little better, but it’s far from fantastic. It still only gets applied from direct heals and the proc is still inconsistent. But with glyphed Regrowth we’ve seen its output contribution increase by a decent amount.

So how do we turn this into a full-blown Mastery?

First, we would have to redesign Living Seed to be more reactive and it would have to be applied by more than just direct heals. My suggestion:

Living Seed- When you critically heal a target you plant a Living Seed on the target for 30% of the amount healed. The Living Seed will bloom when the target takes damage. Lasts 15 sec.

What changes:

-Living Seed would be applied on critical heals both from direct heals and all HoTs.

-Living Seed would stack up to a certain % of the casters health (similar to Illuminated Healing and Divine Aegis).

-Living Seed procs from all damage sources, whether the damage is direct or indirect.

The Mastery could be something like:

Mastery: Nature’s Bounty- Increases the healing done by Living Seed by X%.

So why would this be a good Mastery for us?

I think Living Seed is actually a great mechanic for Druids. The ability is reactive to damage and it could help us a little in the burst healing category since it procs after damage is applied. Yes it is inferior to absorption and damage prevention abilities, but all raw healing is inferior to those mechanics. It’s not really any different from what we are having to deal with today. Also, I feel that with these suggestions our secondary stats wouldn’t be so black and white and our healing would be more interesting to watch.

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  1. I really like the idea of revamping Living Seed, and I really like the idea of getting a new (more interesting) mastery. The only problem I see with this is that we then have two logical options for secondary stat priority.

    1) Stack haste, only. Dumping all of our mastery for haste would mean that we can reach those extra ticks on rejuv, LB, WG, etc. This becomes especially potent if we already have that buff to healing if Harmony becomes a passive. Ticks would stack Living Seed faster, leading to more effective mastery, which then means mastery stacking wouldn’t be as necessary. This may, however, mean crit would be more of an importance.

    2) Stack haste to breakpoint, then crit and mastery equally. This kinda turns us into discipline priests, however. Crit and mastery would work dynamically to a) increase the amount of Living Seeds on targets, and b) increase their potency. Much like how our mastery works currently, but with the added importance for crit, and the already existing haste requirements.

    I’m not sure about the theorycrafting behind these two stat priorities, but it seems like we’d be stretched thin trying to weigh the two other stats. Although if disc priests could do it, I’m sure it works.

    I do really like the idea of going crazy raid healing, and then 6 seconds later having all of the seeds you planted bloom. That just seems really druidly and fun :D I was actually thinking the other day about how Living Seed would be an awesome addition to our healing toolkit, were it just an ability and not a passive. I much prefer your idea, however. Good read!

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      I think a Living Seed Mastery (and mechanic) would be very similar to how Discipline Priests use stats. Haste breakpoints, Mastery, and Crit would all play off each other and each one wouldn’t necessarily be more powerful than the other (except for Haste breakpoints). I really like this idea as a Mastery because it makes Crit more interesting and we wouldn’t just default to Haste to 3043 > Mastery > Crit all the time. I like having stats be a bit more equal because it doesn’t feel as punishing if you end up with gear that isn’t itemized very well (see T14!).

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